Expanding for peak prioritiesWhat’s the Problem?

We often hear the daily tasks and stresses for CFOs stretching their attention to dysfunctional levels. While there are times of the year where the workload slows, there is still very little down time.  The frenetic pace can lead to less than optimal decisions and potential faulty analysis.

CFO turnover continues to increase and burn out is now reaching to Controllers as well. Many companies are now establishing relationships with specialized financial consulting firms to take up the load at peak times or with specialized projects on a part-time basis.

What Is the Fix?

Augmenting finance department capacity through consulting arrangements has become much more common. These relationships tend to be part-time and be longer in tenure that allows consultants to stay knowledgeable on company specific processes and reporting needs.

How and Where Do You Use Consultants?

The CFO should consider using outside consultants for such projects as:

  • Audit readiness preparation, issue resolution or even restatement analysis
  • Major IT systems implementation or revisions
  • Mergers and acquisition due diligence and project management
  • Post-merger integration projects
  • Building sophisticated financial models for budgets, bank packages, capital planning or exit strategies
  • Complex tax issues or regulatory filings
  • Responding to SEC or other regulatory queries such as sales and use tax
  • Any time when very specialized financial knowledge is needed such as international, treasury, investment management or other highly technical projects

How Do I Find Qualified Consultants?

Most CFOs reach out to colleagues or trusted advisors for their recommendations on consultants and then contact those that have been recommended. Others merely search on the web for firms that pop up. Often they will consult their banker, attorney, CPA firm or other consulting firms which they are familiar with.

How Do I Determine Who Is Best for Us?

Experience and chemistry are the two most important characteristics that should guide your selection. Your supporting resources need to “have been and done that before” with your particular needs. They must also fit your culture and be able to work with staff without making waves. While you may not require that working with them is fun, you would at least want people that are easy to work with and can support your priorities with staff.

Conclusion

The timeliness and accuracy of financial information is still job number one for the financial department. Adding peak capacity when needed avoids a decline in overall work quality and avoids unnecessary errors. Going it alone increases your risk and is avoidable through seeking high quality assistance.

For additional insights, questions, comments and help on this or any area of concern for your business contact Dave Johnson, C Squared Managing Partner, 303-417-6353.